The main tenets of liberalism are political democracy, limitations on the powers of government, the development of universal human rights, legal equality for all adult citizens, freedom of expression, respect for the value of viewpoint diversity and honest debate, respect for evidence and reason, the separation of church and state, and freedom of religion. (Pg.11)
This philosophical liberalism is opposed to authoritarian movements of all types, be they left-wing or right-wing, secular or theocratic. Liberalism is thus best thought of as a shared common ground, providing a framework for conflict resolution and one within which people with a variety of views on political, economic, and social questions can rationally debate the options for public policy. (Pg.11)
Though the problem to the right is severe and deserves much careful analysis in its own right, we have become experts in the nature of the problem on the left. This is partly because we believe that, while the two sides are driving one another to madness and further radicalization, the problem coming from the left represents a departure from its historical point of reason and strength, which is liberalism. It is that liberalism that is essential to the maintenance of our secular, liberal democracies. As we have written previously, the problem arises from the fact that,
The progressive left has aligned itself not with Modernity but with postmodernism, which rejects objective truth as a fantasy dreamed up by naïve and/or arrogantly bigoted Enlightenment thinkers who underestimated the collateral consequences of Modernity’s progress.1
It is this problem that we have dedicated ourselves to learning about and hope to explain in this volume: the problem of postmodernism, not just as it initially arose in the 1960s but also how it has evolved over the last half century. Postmodernism has, depending upon your view, either become or given rise to one of the least tolerant and most authoritarian ideologies that the world has had to deal with since the widespread decline of communism and the collapses of white supremacy and colonialism. Postmodernism was developed in relatively obscure corners of academia as an intellectual and cultural reaction to all of these changes, and since the 1960s it has spread to other parts of the academy, into activism, throughout bureaucracies, and to the heart of primary, secondary, and post-secondary education. It has, from there, begun to seep into broader society to the point where it, and backlashes against it—both reasonable and reactionary—have come to dominate our sociopolitical landscape as we grind ever more painfully into the third decade of the new millennium. (Pg.13)
What is the postmodern theory?
Postmodernism, also spelled post-modernism, in Western philosophy, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power. Britannica.
The term “Postmodern” begins to make sense if you understand what “Modernism” refers to. In this case, “Modernism” usually refers to Neo-Classical, Enlightenment assumptions concerning the role reason, or rationality, or scientific reasoning, play in guiding our understanding of the human condition and, in extreme cases of Postmodern theory, nature itself. Postmodernism basically challenges those basic assumptions.
Existence of stable, coherent “self”, independent of culture and society.
Science is an objective means of understanding the natural world and its application can improve our lives.
Reason will lead to universal truths all cultures will embrace.
Language is transparent; a one to one relationship between signifier (word) and signified (thing or concept).
The “self” is a myth and largely a composite of one’s social experiences and cultural contexts. The ʺselfʺ is an Ideology.
Nope. Science is ideology. “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” — Donald Trump
“A majority of people have been paid to say that man is causing the climate to warm up […] they only get the money if they come up with the right result.” Rush Limbaugh
“…no eternal truths, no universal human experience, no universal human rights, overriding narrative of human progress” (Faigley, 8).
Language is fluid and arbitrary and/or rooted in Power/Knowledge relations. Meaning is fluid and arbitrary. Meaning is “messy”.